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Bridgestone to end passenger, LT production in La Vergne

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Bridgestone to end passenger, LT production in La Vergne
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) will cease passenger and light truck tire manufacturing at its La Vergne, Tenn., plant due to "negative economic conditions," say company officials.


"Based on the current economic forecasts, it appears that the global economic crisis is going to get worse before it gets better," says Steve Brooks, president, United States, Canada and Monterrey Manufacturing Group, BATO.

BATO, formerly known as Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC, announced last month that it was evaluating the potential action.

"Further, due to the continuing slowdown in truck tire demand, BATO has announced that it will reduce production in order to better align truck tire inventory with that demand," say BATO officials. However, truck tire manufacturing will continue to take place at La Vergne.

The cessation of consumer tire manufacturing at the plant will result in the elimination of 543 jobs starting in mid-March, while the truck tire production decrease will result in 259 lay offs to begin at the same time.

BATO officials say they are planning to negotiate with the United Steelworkers the terms under which consumer tire production at the factory will be phased out.

"While these decisions are difficult, the actions are necessary in order to ensure the health of our entire Americas tire business," explains Brooks.

He adds that BATO hopes laid-off truck tire production employees can return to work by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

At full capacity, the La Vergne plant, which opened in 1972, can produce 7,100 passenger, 2,300 light truck and 6,200 medium truck and bus tires per day, according to Modern Tire Dealer's 2009 Facts Issue.

In terms of production capacity, it's BATO's fourth largest plant in North America.



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